How to Find the Right Pharmacist Tech Training Program Near Troy Alabama
Having made the decision to earn your pharmacy technician certificate or degree near TroyAL, you might be pondering just how to pick the ideal program to get your education and training. Of course the first step is to locate schools that offer the degree or diploma that you are interested in. A number of potential students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While cost and location are significant concerns when deciding on a college, they are not the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. And if you prefer studying in your home by means of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online school will also be included in your vetting process. We will go over these qualifications and others that you will want to include when comparing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's discuss what a pharmacy technician does, the diploma and degree options available, and the advantages of online courses.
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The Function of Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians have multiple job functions, but their primary duty is to dispense prescription medications. Because they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must work under the supervision of a licensed Troy AL pharmacist. They must also have good customer service skills since they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be precise when preparing prescription medications per the pharmacist's directions. And they must have an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical terms in order that they may assist customers with understanding instructions for their prescriptions in addition to other pharmaceutical literature and information. However, under no circumstance should they ever give medical advice regarding medications or anything else. All such questions would be directed to the pharmacist. Several of the typical daily functions a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Welcome and assist customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Fill prescription medications under pharmacist guidance
- Enter customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Phone customers when their medications are ready for pick-up
- Fill out and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Re-supply shelves and audit and manage inventory
Due to the nature of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working weekends and evenings is also very common, especially for newer technicians with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or occasionally having to work off-hours is a very satisfying career assisting people with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Tech Degrees and Certificates
Students wishing to enroll in a pharmacy tech program are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are generally 2 alternatives to training to be a technician whether you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to attain a certificate or a diploma, which normally can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs present an overview to the various aspects of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and usually include lab and classroom training. Many programs also require an internship at an accepted Troy AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which generally involves about two years of studies. Although not required for most entry level positions, it does provide a more comprehensive education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Either program should furnish the proper level of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Available Certifications
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges opt to get certified in order to be more competitive when seeking employment. Also, a number of Troy AL pharmacies will only hire a technician that is certified. There are 2 organizations that provide certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB)
The NHA requires that the applicant be at least 18 years old, be a high school graduate, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of work experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their exam. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be met by completing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacist Technician Classes Online
Prior to selecting a pharmacy technician online college, it's important to realize that the majority of programs do require that a substantial part of the training be completed in a clinical setting. This is typically fulfilled in a local Troy pharmacy or health center through an internship program. Students often will have the opportunity to work under an experienced pharmacy technician in order to get some work place experience. Fortunately the balance or non-clinical training may be accessed over the internet in your Troy AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for many students, particularly for those who keep working while attaining their certificate or degree. And online programs are frequently less expensive than classroom options. Tuition and costs for commuting and course materials may be reduced substantially. With both the clinical and the online training, a comprehensive education is provided. But not all online schools are accredited, which is critical for obtaining employment and certification (more on accreditation later). So confirm that any online college you are reviewing is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, for instance the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are dedicated enough to learn with a less formal type of education, then online training might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Pharmacist Tech Courses
After you have decided whether you want to obtain a degree or a certificate, and if you prefer to enroll in an online school or attend classes on campus, you can begin to target your school alternatives. There are a large number of pharmacist tech schools to pick from in the Troy AL area and throughout the USA, so you must create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and technical schools. As we addressed in our introduction, you will undoubtedly initially look for schools that are within both your financial budget and commuting distance from your Troy residence. If you are willing to move or are have decided to enroll in an online pharmacy tech school, then location may not be critical. But there are a number of other issues that you should take into consideration so that you may adequately compare colleges. The questions below will help you to gather that information and help you to make your final decision.
Is the Pharmacist Technician Program Accredited? Many pharmacy technician colleges and vocational schools have obtained a regional or national accreditation. One of the most respected accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to provide a comprehensive superior education. Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online education. Don't forget to confirm that the certificate or degree program together with the school you pick are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education sanctioned accrediting organization. Along with helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, it can help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, certification might mandate that the training program is accredited. And many Troy AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Ready You for Certification? Certification is not required in every state, but numerous employers desire that the techs they hire be certified. The pharmacy technician college needs to prepare its students to pass the PTCB or the NHA exam. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will also need 1 year of job experience. This condition can be met by participating in a school sponsored internship program.
Does the College Sponsor Internship Programs? As we previously discussed, the NHA mandates one year of experience for certification, which can be fulfilled with an internship program. Perhaps the best way to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to train out in the field. Most pharmacy tech certificate or degree programs also require practical training prior to graduation and an internship is an excellent way to fulfill the requirement. Check if the colleges have associations with Troy Alabama area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Help? Getting that initial job in Troy AL after graduation, especially with no professional experience, can be a challenging endeavor without any assistance. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher job placement rate is an indicator that the school has an excellent reputation within the field creating demand for its graduates. It also means that it has a substantial network of pharmacy relationships where it can place graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For a number of students, the school they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Troy AL home. Individuals who have decided to attend online classes naturally will not have to worry themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of importance. One thing to keep in mind is that if you choose to enroll in a school that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may be required to pay a higher tuition. State colleges normally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges normally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the type of student that prefers to sit far in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will undoubtedly want a smaller class size. Smaller classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may want to sit in on one or more classes before making your final determination. This will also give you a chance to converse with a few of the students and instructors to get their perspectives regarding the pharmacist tech program as well.
Can the School Accommodate your Schedule? And last you need to confirm that the pharmacist technician program you finally select can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule evening or weekend classes in the Troy AL area, verify that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would have to enroll in. Also, ask what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss due to work, illness or family obligations.
Find the Right Troy Pharmacy Tech Course
Getting the right pharmacist tech training is a critical first step to launching your career in a fulfilling profession where helping customers with their health is your mission. Traditionally, many pharmacist technicians were trained "on the job". These days, the majority of pharmacists can no longer operate this way and much prefer to hire formally educated technicians. Training is furnished by trade schools, vocational and technical colleges, as well as community colleges. A large number of pharmacist technician colleges include both classroom and clinical work. As we have discussed in this article, it's necessary to enroll in a school that is accredited and will prep you for certification. This is true both for online classes and for those attended on campus. If you follow our other tips you will be able to compare schools so that you are sure to make the right choice. With the right education and dedication you can accomplish your goal to become a pharmacy tech in Troy Alabama.